Today I kick off my Halloween reviews and I am pretty excited about this, however there’ll be a significant difference this year due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, I will not be covering anything from film or television, so most of the reviews this year will be on books. Starting with this Nancy Drew book and something I hope you pick up with these particular reviews is the books age up as we are dealing with books aimed at the youngest Nancy fans first.
Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew is an elementary-level series that reimagines Nancy and her friends as eight-year-olds at River Heights Elementary. Think of those shows that were popular in the eighties a la Muppet Babies. Now apparently this is a rebooted series that replaced a similar series called Nancy Drew Notebooks
I can’t speak to that series as I’m more familiar with the classic books and the Diaries, the latter of which are my favorite Nancy Drew books. However, it is pretty exciting to find a Nancy Drew book set at Halloween. Let’s crack the case open.
I feel like the cover can tell you a lot about the story you are about to read and looking at the costumes that Nancy, Bess, and George are wearing also delves into the personalities of the girls. Nancy is a dragon and dragons are usually presented as brave and strong which fits the young detective even at eight years of age, Bess is a ballerina and I like that as she has only been the girliest girl of the three and Geroge is a robot though I made the mistake thinking she was the Tin Man as did a character in the book and this works as George is more modern adaptions (save for the CW show) is shown as the techie of the group. And the shadow of the “antagonist” looming over the girls is a great touch to show how they view him as a threat.
If you recall how I said this was like the Muppet Babyifaction of Nancy Drew, I was half right as a better comparison would be A Pup Named Scooby-Doo as Nancy, Bess, and George make up a club called The Clue Crew. It appears they hire themselves out to follow classmates to solve mysteries. And here they are helping a classmate named Shelby to prove a TV studio that films her favorite science show isn’t haunted. Even though she believes it is.
It is a cute little science show and the kids were there for a science episode and they did a good job. Granted, there were moments when I was painfully reminded this was written for a younger audience such as the main antagonist that the girls believe to be a ghost named Dr. Funk-N-Stine who either had a show in the seventies or had a seventies-themed show or Nancy using the word yucky.
This was a reminder this was written for the youngest Nancy fans. Still, this is a good introduction to the girl sleuth and the mishaps are explained away in a way that makes sense, unlike most books featuring an older Nancy, everyone comes out looking pretty innocent. I imagine that it’s fun for young kids to piece together whodunit but a personal issue I have is that it doesn’t present many suspects as the girls are so focused on Dr. Funk-N-Stine being a ghost haunting the studio that it kinda comes out of nowhere when the actual “culprit” is revealed. Nancy’s deductive reasoning does make sense for the person it is and it ties into the “yucky green stain” but it left me going “him?”
That is perhaps my one minor complaint with this book, I have to say I love it when the girls run through a haunted house after hearing another classmate scream as it is the most Halloweeny moment of the whole book.
I could just picture this as an animated set piece set to a pop song to give us a classic Scooby-Doo-style chase. It felt like this set piece took influence from Scooby and the gang. Oh, and I don’t have anywhere else to put this but little Nancy has a puppy and more versions of Nancy Drew should have a pet.
My Final Thoughts
This is a cute little Nancy Drew Halloween story for the youngest Nancy fans and I have the impression that this series is a good entry point for kids before moving on to other Nancy books. I’d probably say in that regard, that the best way to read these books to grow with them is Clue Crew, then Diaries, and then the Classics. We aren’t done with eight-year-old Nancy just yet as we will take a look a look at the youth-oriented series that replaced the Clue Crew as we look at the book…